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Ossinovski: Ratas will be next prime minister of Estonia

Following the proposal to Taavi Rõivas (Reform) to step down as Prime Minister of Estonia, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDE) Jevgeni Ossinovski said that he envisioned Jüri Ratas, current Second Vice-President of the Riigikogu and recently elected chairman of the Center Party, as the next head of the Estonian government.

Speaking in an interview on ETV’s program "Ringvaade" on Monday night, Ossinovski said that it is believed that Rõivas will take responsibility and resign from office himself.

"Beginning on Friday already, multiple Reform Party members have begun very actively offering the Center Party spots in the government and naturally that means that trust in the government is broken," said the chairman of the SDE. "I met with the Prime Minister multiple times today; we discussed whether it would be possible to restore that trust somehow, and other than his saying that he could swear that he hadn’t been negotiating, nothing else came from there."

Ossinovski said that he believed that the Prime Minister honestly hadn’t been negotiating and had been sincere. "But the government is a team game and if there is no trust between the teams, then it isn’t possible to continue," he added.

According to the leader of the SDE, his party’s board of directors authorized him to hold consultations in order to form a new majority government and the general attitude was that, following a long reign, Reform should take a break in the opposition as they were long since out of ideas.

"If we consider the formation of a new majority government in which the SDE would participate, then Center is definitely the party with whom we will begin talks," said Ossinovski. "All manner of logic states that the largest coalition party also leads the government as well. I believe that Jüri Ratas will be a fine net prime minister for Estonia."

Asked if he himself might not be the country’s next prime minister, Ossinovski replied that there was no point in beginning to make predictions, however he pictured Ratas as Estonia’s next prime minister.

"It is true that Jüri lacks government experience, however nobody is actually ever ready for the position of Prime Minister," said the SDE leader. "It is a terribly difficult job which demands speedy orientation and the getting into the swing of things quickly. I believe that Jüri has what it takes to do this job well, and naturally the SDE supports him in this as well."

He noted that one does not generally build five-wheeled cars, however the SDE was willing to consider the thoughts of the Free Party and other parties on what the new government might do. In his opinion, however, former longtime Center Party chairman Edgar Savisaar was completely out of the picture and would not play any role whatsoever in the new government.

"It can be said now that Edgar Savisaar’s career is truly and definitely over," said Ossinovski. "I wish him good luck in his persnal life and in defending his rights in the courts. Edgar Savisaar certainly won’t play any role in that party."

On the subject of the potential new government, Ossinovski stated that Estonia had already seen 17 years of Reform Party-dictated tax policies and little attention was being paid to regional policy and social inequalities; he found that the Center Party’s joining the government, a window of opportunity for new political openings, would allow for these issues to be addressed more.

“It will be possible to do things which have not been possible to do for some time,” concluded the SDE leader.

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

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